Archives for posts with tag: fantasy

Why do I love science fiction and fantasy in all media?

Reality has certain hard and fast rules so you pretty much know what to expect. For example, if someone falls off a hundred-foot bridge, there’s a high probability that the person is going to die. But in SF&F any number of different outcomes is possible.

He or she may suddenly sprout wings and fly away or be halted in midair by a device that stops time. Superman, or some other superhero, may fly in at the last moment to rescue the poor soul. Or perhaps a vampire catches the victim in his arms and devours him or her! There’s no end to the possibilities, some of which might make perfect sense and some not.

What happens in SF&F is limited only by the author’s imagination. The reader/viewer/player can travel anywhere in time or space, do impossible things. It’s sort of like playing a game of chess in which the rules of play are suspended and anything goes. Therefore, the players must invent a new game with its own rules, its own goals. The game becomes fresh, exciting ( or certainly should be! )

I think that those people who “can’t get into” SF&F are the type who want/need absolute rules that can’t be bent or broken. They can’t, or won’t, suspend their disbelief in alternate outcomes long enough to enjoy the story being presented to them, to appreciate what imagination has wrought. To them, it’s all nonsense. They just cannot allow themselves to be swept away by anything that isn’t “real”.

I feel badly for them because these folks are missing out on a heck of a lot of fun, as well as on new ways of looking at the world. But I understand that’s simply part of who they are. No matter what you enjoy reading or writing, keep on with it!


Here are some of my thoughts on the subject of genre prejudice, specifically, why some individuals refuse to read SF:

1) Many readers associate science fiction exclusively with other media presentations of the genre, ie. Star Wars ( actually space opera ), Star Trek, Lost in Space, Red Dwarf, etc.

2) Some readers have read only one form of SF, a form they did not appreciate: militaristic SF, tech-oriented SF, sociological SF, or whatever.

3) Some readers have been exposed to bad SF, and, admittedly, there is a lot of it out there! Much of it is actually a mixture of fantasy and SF, or badly-outdated science.

4) Some have it in their heads that SF is only for kids, or nerds, or science geeks, or that SF is too sophisticated to be enjoyable.

While there may be a small kernel of truth in some of these prejudicial attitudes, all SF is not alike. I dare say the genre has something for everyone, whether you’re looking for adventure, action, romance, enlightenment, or mystery. Remember the old saying: Don’t judge a book by its cover. Let’s tweak that to: Don’t judge a book by its genre.

Funny that I’ve never heard a single soul say, “Oh, I don’t read mysteries—or romances—or fantasy,” etc. Hmmm! More food for thought!

All for now,


I’ve always been interested in supporting fellow writers and fans of science fiction and fantasy. We are, after all, involved in a rather small category of fiction, so we have to stick together. I think that’s one reason so many of us attend genre conventions. It’s fun and rewarding to associate with others who appreciate the same things we do.

But when I first began writing science fiction, I had no one to help or support me, to give me advice or critcism, whether positive or negative. It wasn’t until many years later, when I’d started writing Book 2 of my Tartarus Trilogy, that I finally joined a writing group at a local library. Let me tell you, that was an eye-opening experience! But it wasn’t terribly helpful as far as improving my writing went.

I did learn several important things, however: 1)  Writers hate negative criticism, even when it’s meant to be helpful, and will seldom accept it. 2)  I wrote much better and far more professionally than the rest of my group—no bragging intended. 3)  Prejudice against sci-fi and fantasy was alive and well!

Perhaps in a future blog I’ll discuss some of the reasons for the existence of this prejudice, which remains even today. Anyway, should you be tempted to join a writers’ group, be darn careful. Make sure the person running it has the credentials to do so; and make sure it doesn’t become a mutual admiration society. Try to find a group that appreciates and welcomes whatever genre you’re writing, and good luck!


I’ve always loved mythology, especially Greek myths—regarding them, I suppose, as just another form of fantasy. So it came as no surprise to me as I was writing the first draft of Judgment on Tartarus that the Malkis/Rona storyline was following along the line of the Hades/Persephone myth. If you aren’t familiar with that story you should look it up—or simply read Judgment and you’ll get the drift.

My love of Greek myths heavily influenced the names of the planets I used. Aside from Earth, the planets that comprise the Interplanet Compact are: Eris, Cythera, and Tartarus. Eris, of course, is aptly named for the Greek god of discord; Eris is a planet where tribal factions are still at war. Cytherea was named for the Greek goddess of love and beauty ( also known as Aphrodite.) That planet is pristine, exquisitely beautiful, but hedonistic. Its inhabitants tend to be laid back and have a “what! me worry?” attitude.

Tartarus—well, let’s put it this way—Tartarus is like no other place in my “known-Galaxy”. Named after the ancient Greeks’ lower depth of Hell, Erebus being the first Hell, the planet is a hellish nightmare: cold, dark, its barren surface subject to near-constant ice storms. And its twin moons were dubbed Erebus and Cerberus by early Terran explorers. ( Cerberus was the three-headed dog that guards the gate to Hell.)

And if you’ve already read Book 2: True Son of Tartarus, you no doubt recognized that one of the ships in the ISS Fleet is named Persephone. Some other ship names are taken from Norse mythology.And so it goes.

All for now,